But that's not actually any more imaginative. That's just as plain-vanilla as the second thing, except less specific (which for some reason is supposed to be better?). Your character is still taking the exact same action.
I've seen players who take the latter approach. The problem is that if you actually want to determine the results of the character's actions, using the game rules, you have to then translate the player's flowery description into actual game-mechanical terms. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth:
Player: I do <elaborate, idiosyncratic description of action>!
I guess the "cinematic", flowery-description style is great if you don't actually want to use the game rules to determine what the results of actions are. But then, why are you playing Pathfinder?
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Oh? Which archetypes get sneak attack?
In any case, that all sounds like "rogues, who were not at all the worst class in 3.5, didn't get buffed quite as much as some other classes did", which is a far cry from "got their teeth kicked in".
It's not just a rules lawyer that's driven mad by playing loose and fast with the rules and being "cinematic" and "narrative" — it's any player who likes knowing how the world works.
If the DM just narrates things, ignoring the rules, the game mechanics, etc., then the events in the game are not predictable. It's just — whatever the DM happens to decide. In other words: if I attempt/perform action X, what happens? Pathfinder gives you the answer. That answer may be of the form "you succeed with X probability, fail with 1-X probability", but it's an answer which you can know.
With a "cinematic", "narrative" game — who knows what will happen! Maybe the DM happened to see a certain motive poster and that got his thoughts going in a certain direction. Maybe he ate a bad pizza and is not inclined to narrate in your favor. Who knows? Anything could affect his narration! You have no way to predict what will happen when your characters do things. Reality dissolves into chaos.
Don't get me wrong, if you like playing narrative/cinematic, that's cool. I'm not here to tell you it's badwrongfun (although, to be sure, Pathfinder's probably not the ideal system for it). I just object to the idea that it's only those pesky, stolid rules lawyers who could possibly ever object.
As a DM, I love it when my PCs (evil) have big plans and make efforts to bring those plans to fruition.
Establishing kickass party bases is a good one. The party in my game have several: one is a city-sized iron cube floating in the void of Acheron; another's a tremendous, legendary airship that can fly between planes of existence...
One of the PCs had, as a long-term goal, becoming the new god of magic (to take the place of Odin, who was killed during Ragnarok). Goal: achieved. (Creative modification of the Deities & Demigods divine rank rules allow the campaign to continue without horrible imbalance.)
Crafting custom magic items and researching unique spells is almost too trivial to mention, but there's certainly lots of that.
I think one of the keys to allowing this sort of thing is to turn it into plot. The player has some ambitious goal in mind? Great! Rather than going "oh man, if I let them do that, it'll totally derail the plot", say instead "Hey, thanks! Free plot!" and turn the accomplishment of the goal into a quest, or series of quests. Of course you'll want to intertwine it into adventures that interest the other players, so it doesn't feel like a one-man show.
Make it clear that the unimportant parts are unimportant. I have that "problem" occasionally also (players fixating on uninteresting things) — only it's not actually a problem because it's easily resolved, like so:
DM: There are ... <insert description of scene here> ... , and also some dwarves arguing in the corner.
Of course, sometimes having inquisitive players is fun. I once had a PC spend four hours (real-world time!) following an NPC on a trip to the market. The NPC in question was indeed involved in any number of evil plots... but villains, as it turns out, still need to go grocery shopping. (Not, like, evil grocery shopping. Just the regular kind.)
Some might call that DM trolling. If anything, it did drive home the fact that not everything that goes on in the game world is part of the plot.
Craig Frankum wrote:
If the cleric is a heal-bot then you're doing it completely wrong. The fifth PC should thus be another cleric, but a good one this time, to show the first cleric how to play his class.
Oh, and as far as the higher-level versions of spell go, I'd place them thusly:
Hide from Enemy, Greater
Hide from Enemy, Mass
Hide from Enemy, Mass Greater
Curious. Why sawdust for the material component?
Matthew 7:3. In the KJV it reads "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?", but in a number of other translations the "speck" is rendered as a "speck of sawdust" or "piece of sawdust" or similar. I use it here as a metaphor for a blind spot, an inability to see something, a flaw in one's perception. (By extension, I suppose, the material component for blindness would be an entire 2x4...)
First, naming. The spell should be called hide from enemy, say, (a la hide from undead), to distinguish it from the (mechanically very different) invisibility line of spells.
Second, mechanics. As Yora said, clearly a mind-affecting spell. Taking a look at the Illusion subschool descriptions, none of them fit this spell's mechanics. I agree that Enchantment would be a better fit.
I'd start with something like the following:
Hide from Enemy
There's a first draft. We can image a higher level version that blocks all senses, much like hide from undead does, as well as versions that affect multiple targets. (EDIT: greater hide from enemy, mass hide from enemy, mass greater hide from enemy ...)
Is this close to what you were looking for?
The high-level party (most are 19th level) that I DM for has several bases of operation. Here are two of their most impressive ones. (This is a 3.5 game, note.)
The plane of Acheron consists of great iron cubes, floating in an endless void. The party has taken over one such cube, which is several miles across, its interior crisscrossed with corridors; they have set up a fortified base of operations deep within it, warded with a great deal of powerful (and some custom-researched) protective magic. That is their permanent home base, with living quarters, conference rooms, arcane laboratories, workshops, libraries, chambers converted into holding pens for exotic creatures (including an aquarium), and so forth.
Installed in one chamber of the cube-base is a permanent portal (think of a stargate), the other end of which stands in their other, mobile base:
An airship — and not just any airship, but the Skidbladnir of Norse legend, the tremendous (aircraft-carrier-sized) sailing vessel of dwarven manufacture, which can be folded up like a cloth and carried in one's pocket. The airship, enchanted with powerful magic, can also sail through the Plane of Shadow (similar to the shadow walk spell) and thus travel to other planes of reality.
Speaking as a usually-DM, sometimes-player:
Seems like unnecessary gotcha-ism on your part, Ravingdork. You did nothing wrong rules-wise, but I wouldn't call it best DM practice.
As a DM, in such a situation, I point out the possibility of failure to the player, like: "Hey, you know that has a chance of failure, right?", and in response get either a "Ah damn, forgot about that, thanks" or a "Still going ahead with it!".
Players are human; they can't be expected to remember every rule. So are DMs, of course; in my group, we all, players and DM, remind each other of rules in cases like this. My players remind me of rules I've forgotten even when the rule is detrimental to their characters. I show them the same courtesy.
If I were a player, I'd be a bit upset with the DM in this case, and I'd talk to him in the hopes of persuading him to be more helpful in the future.
That said, the tantrum and threat of ragequitting is definitely excessive. In his place I'd go for the "sell the thing to some schmucks" solution and move on with life.
That said, there's basically two reasons why coming to the boards and talking about a thing that's broken could be useful:
1. It could be useful to the complainer because other forum posters might be like "Ah yes, indeed this is a thing that could be problematic. Here is how I fixed it" (i.e. practical advice on dealing with the matter).
2. Conversely, the complainer could post saying "I found a problem with balance in my game, and here is how I then fixed it" (i.e. reporting your own experience for the edification of anyone who has similar issues in the future and can then search the forums for how it's been handled by others).
(Also, on a less practical note, some people just like discussing game mechanics and game design in theoretical terms, and what people find to be "broken" can be interesting data for such conversations.)
Also, if you see 10 different posts from 10 different people, each saying "thing X is broken!", and X is a different thing in each of the 10 cases...
... then what you're seeing is 10 different people saying "My group thinks Pathfinder is fine, except for this one thing, which is broken!"
So when YOUR group plays, you might well find one thing that feels broken, or actually, in fact, does not work for your group.
You can then fix or remove that one thing, and move on to using the rest of the non-broken game.
(If you saw EVERYONE saying "thing X is broken!", and they're all talking about the same X, then you would be right to think that something is up.)
Yes. I think, reading some of the other responses in this thread, that I should tell my players how much I appreciate them more often.
Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:
I want to offer my campaign as a case study in how an evil party can work.
This is a campaign I've been DMing for over five years; the party is now 19th level. The PCs are all evil, running the gamut from CE to LE. One of them is a largely amoral assassin who treats killing like a job (though he takes professional satisfaction in doing it well). Another is a ruthless warrior who takes pleasure in torturing people. Another is a cheerfully Chaotic Evil worshipper of Loki, who doesn't really concern himself with morality and will go along with almost anything as long as lols are involved.
There is little intra-party conflict, and none that has ever escalated to violence. The PCs are not linked by a single shared goal, nor by any rigid command hierarchy; they each have their own goals, some of them linked to each other; but more importantly: they are friends and comrades.
Why wouldn't they be? They've spent years adventuring together, helping each other achieve their goals, learning each other's ambitions and desires, saving each other's lives. At the beginning of their careers, they banded together out of necessity; now, when they are some of the most powerful people in the campaign world, they are each other's most critical allies. There is real trust between them, which took time to grow and develop (roleplayed excellently by their players, I might add).
And yet they're unquestionably evil. They have no qualms about killing innocents if it serves their purposes (though they never engaged in needless slaughter or arbitrary atrocities), nor about torture, kidnapping, blackmail, burglary, etc. On the other hand, they've helped save the world on several occasions (can't rule a destroyed world, right?). Some of their allies are Good-aligned (some of those allies know the party is evil, while others don't care)! What's more, the evil acts of the PCs are not romanticized or portrayed as anything but Evil. And roleplaying Evil has not resulted in the players acting like jerks (we're all friends IRL).
Evil can be VERY interesting to roleplay. The thing to remember is that many of the most interesting real-life historical figures have been, at best, flawed people, and some have been, by the standards of modern morality, definitely evil. But history is almost entirely lacking in real-life caricatures. Everyone is the hero of their own story.
Yeah, this seems reasonable. It's the "disposable character" attitude I object to, not a lack of in-character dedication per se.
(Incidentally, I thought the whole "Wesley Crusher leaves to find himself" thing was dumb. Perhaps why they (the studio and the actor) did it, but in-story, dumb.)
Hm, this is an interesting perspective. If I might ask — do your games often play out like this?
I didn't consider such a possibility because this sort of thing sounds like planning out a story and then telling that story, which is not the style of gaming that I am used to (or prefer). (No disrespect meant toward those who do prefer such a style.)
Of course if that's your thing, and the GM undermines (after agreeing to it, presumably?), then that's unfair, yeah. On the other hand, you would work it out beforehand with your GM, right? It doesn't seem like this sort of plan would work very well as just a plan that you as the player have, with no GM consultation or input.
So adventurers aren't allowed to retire to a plush life after obtaining tens of thousand of gold now???
Sure. I think it depends on the type of campaign you're running.
In a sandbox campaign, it makes sense for an adventurer to say "The big score! Well guys, this is what I wanted out of all this, and now I'm out. It's been fun." Then the party hires or finds another willing dungeon-delver to take that guy's place. Fine and well.
In a more plot-oriented campaign, where interesting events unfold and the PCs participate in those events, each driven by his or her own motivations; or, even more so, if the campaign is both plot-heavy AND character-driven, as is largely the case in the current campaign I am running; well, then...
... then it not only makes relatively little sense for a PC to up and say "ok guys, I'm out", but it sort of disrupts things.
Furthermore, consider the character motivations: you've embarked on a quest, of great importance to your life and your convictions, with several other people. After facing death numerous times at their side, and sharing your goals, joys, and secrets with them, and accomplishing great deeds with their help, you finally manage to complete your own quest(s) and achieve your goal(s), and...
... promptly abandon your party, opting for the plushy life, leaving your companions to continue their own life-critical quests without you. What?
As a counterpoint to my previous reply, I have had players say "you know, Makhno, this character just isn't working out for me. I think, the next time I die, I'll communicate out-of-game to the players that they shouldn't res me, and I'll bring in something else, something that fits better with the campaign/party/etc. and that I'll have more fun playing. That cool with you?"
And I've said "sure". Sometimes characters don't work out; it happens. It's the attitude of planning to do so in advance that somewhat offends my DM sensibilities.
- Though not a hard rule stated outright, the GM implied he was heavily against switching characters mid-game. I intoned that I might play a fighter throughout the low levels, then switch to a spellcaster later as I thought that would be more fun for me. He gave me a stern look and said "you best to make and play that spellcaster right now then if that's what you want." Not sure how this will work out in the event of naturally occurring (for an adventurer) character deaths.
All of the house rules you mention seem reasonable — not necessarily the ones I use, or would use, but reasonable. I want to comment on this last one specifically:
I'm with the GM on this. I mean, if a player in a campaign I was running actually planned, in advance, to kill off their character at some point because they only made the character to play for a little while... I'd frown pretty hard too. That's a rather shockingly low level of investment in a character.
I mean, it's hard to enforce a rule against this — what do you do if the player says nothing, and then at some point goes — "What's that, a dragon lives over in that cave? Well it so happens I have a sudden hankering for cave mushrooms, let me go pick them all by myself oh hello mister dragon, surely you won't mind if I help myself to your treasure oh god my spleen, ow, ow, not the face, woe is me I am so unexpectedly dead, and at such a ripe young age, too. Welp, time for a new character, I s'pose."
But I'd be pretty disappointed to find that my players are so uninterested in my campaign that they treat their characters as disposable.
Maybe it wasn't your intent to take such an attitude? I don't know. But, it sure could easily look like that to your DM, yeah?
the point of alignment is only beings with moral choice can have it (non-neutral),
So far so good...
and that is based on them continually making moral choices in the moment.
... but here we disagree.
Why does "continually making moral choices" enter into it? What are you basing this on?
somebody 100% dedicated to this idea of the greater good simply never can have a moral dilemna,
Sure they can face a dilemma — it's just that they actually have an ethical framework which can provide the answer to the dilemma, rather than floundering helplessly going "well, this is hard and I guess I don't know what the right answer is, and maybe there is no right answer :("
Furthermore, incomplete information or computational uncertainty (i.e., the two limitations that put the "bounded" in "bounded rationality") can present a utilitarian with an actually nontrivial dilemma.
I mean, being sure of what your ethical framework is does not somehow lead to certainty of what the right answer is. It would be nice if it did! But the fact is that, as a couple of posters have pointed out, you run into practical difficulties: you may not know all the relevant subjects' utility functions, you may not be sure of the outcomes of your actions, you may not be sure that your understanding of the matter is sufficient to be sure that you're even approaching the situation the right way, etc. etc. It's not actually hard to come up with ethical, or meta-ethical, dilemmas for utilitarians. (For instance, how's this for an example of a meta-ethical dilemma: do you go with rule consequentialism or act consequentialism as the basis of your morality?)
I have to admit that I didn't really understand what you meant with your opposing theories. Could you expand/clarify?
Well, sure. But the post I was responding to specifically dealt with the question of how the existence of the afterlife affects utility calculations. Eliminate or modify the afterlife aspect of it (the whole "Good [capital-G] people get good [i.e. pleasant] afterlives" bit), and your utility calculation is fixed.
Um... no, actually, programming a computer to be moral turns out to be extremely difficult (actually impossible in current practice; it's downgraded to "difficult" only in theory). (The field of Friendly Artificial Intelligence deals with this issue, and it's super complicated.)
If you did successfully program a non-sentient computer to maximize good, then the "good" label would attach to the programmer. The relevant moral action is the act of programming the computer.
Ah... yeah, I am less knowledgeable about Golarion cosmology than others. Ok. So I guess it's mostly Pharasma who would have to be overthrown.
to the original topic, i think you could argue that if the character really was successfully/honestly pulling off this paradigm, that they should be TN, since they are not really engaging with moral choice in the moment, but are just 'rotely' living a role as an animal would build nests, etc. they are not morally motivated for/against anything, but are mechanically fulfilling some goal, that the goal is overall goodness isn't really any more a moral choice than any other long-term goal, the idea of moral choice is intrinsicly faced with the PRESENT moral choice, not utilitarian pursual of goals.
Man I don't know how to answer this one just because it seems like such an outlandish view. Seriously? People who are concerned with making the world maximally better for everyone aren't morally motivated for or against anything, just rotely living? Just... what.
Well, I'll tell you what I would do if I was the utilitarian in question.
I would say:
"This opposition of forces, this "Good" vs. "Evil" (and we really should find less misleading names for them, I would add), is a cosmic tyranny imposed on mortals by gods, who are all evil in the conventional sense. There's two opposing factions of them, roughly, and they all want the power that comes with worship... so they've set up this system of afterlives, to force mortals to behave in a certain way. And what must be done is that this cosmic tyranny must be deposed! All gods (all who participate in this system, anyway) must be slain... and then we mortals can go ahead and do things that are actually good, and useful and beneficial."
Although the postscript to this is that life -> afterlife is not quite a strict unidirectional influence, in D&Desque worlds... petitioners can become celestials, mortals can travel to the afterlife and talk to them, all sorts of strange things can happen... plus, a god's influence depends on the worship of mortals, so how is that affected if all the mortals die? I mean, I'm just thinking out loud in this part, but I suspect it's a bit more complicated than just deciding that people would be better off dead.
Of course, Light is hardly a sane, rational, mentally balanced person (by the end). The psychology of what happens when a person gains power over other people is well-documented. Light's actual motivation drifts pretty far from utilitarianism very quickly.
Funky Badger wrote:
But... utilitarian thinking does not, in fact, lead to that example. That's AD's point. I mean, utilitarian thinking can get you to do all manner of bad things... if you're stupid or insane. I hope you don't think that the Khmer Rouge is actually a result of otherwise-sane people altruistically applying utilitarianism.
Funky Badger wrote:
Why would the "subjects" have to be utilitarian in outlook? What does it matter what they believe?
I think one of us is very confused...
Exactly. The idea is that the utilitarian says: "This so-called cosmic force that we, for some reason, have decided to call capital-G 'Good' is not actually synonymous with what is ethically good, and ditto for evil, respectively. I'm going to do the right thing, ethically speaking, regardless of what the cosmic forces think."
Charlie Bell wrote:
Er, sorry. That was me totally misinterpreting that line of your post. Yeah, that definitely is a good example.
Governmental stability is a positive psychological influence that results in a net good for then entire group. IE If a government is stable, people can make long term plans, they are less likely to horde resources, etc. If that stability comes at the expense of having to suppress individual freedoms...
Like, you do realize that this is exactly the tradeoff you have to make in order to have... any government? At all? And that it's the tradeoff that actual human societies do, in fact, all make? Do you consider... pretty much all people... evil? If you're an extreme anarchist-libertarian, your point is justified — otherwise...
To get to a finer point, how do you calculate the value of making X people Y% happier vs having to kill one person?
Carefully and with great difficulty.
(Yes, "how do you, in practice, calculate ..." is the problem of utilitarianism. It happens to be a special case of the general problem of bounded rationality. Such problems are solvable, though pretty much never perfectly solvable; you approximate the best solution, knowing that you're doing better than you otherwise would, but not as well as you in theory could be doing.)
That is a failure mode of utilitarianism that, being known, is not terribly difficult to correct for, if you plan carefully and construct suitable social checks/balances.
stuff about lack of perfect knowledge
AD answered this one. Intent is what counts.
Funky Badger wrote:
That reductio only works if the utility functions of the 51% don't have terms in them for the 49%. That is pretty unrealistic. Otherwise, the reductio either fails, or you have to introduce increasingly convoluted and improbable caveats to your hypothetical.
More broadly, one can construct all sorts of reductios if we don't confine ourselves to beings with human moral values/preferences/intuitions, but doing so proves little.
Charlie Bell wrote:
Cf. Milton's Satan.
Reasoning from fictional evidence is hardly a good way to reach correct conclusions.
You do realize that by declaring modern consequentialist ethics the "correct standard" you are advocating an absolutist morality?
Ethics and meta-ethics are not the same thing.
I'm definitely advocating an "absolutist" meta-ethics, but as far as my ethics go, consequentialism cannot sensibly be described as "absolutist" — deontology would most closely fit that description.
Consequentialism is an approach to ethics, not the only correct approach to ethics.
I disagree, obviously, but I'd like to ask that we not get into that discussion here. I do acknowledge that the statement I made is not universally accepted.
As an addendum, I'd like to note that the way alignment is described in D&D and Pathfinder has drifted toward the simplistic. Compare, for instance, NG alignment as described in the PF Core Rulebook...
... with NG as described by Gary Gygax in the 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide:
1e DMG wrote:
NEUTRAL GOOD: Creatures of this alignment see the cosmos as a place where law and chaos are merely tools to use in bringing life, happiness, and prosperity to all deserving creatures. Order is not good unless it brings this to all; neither is randomness and total freedom desirable if it does not bring such good.
A tad more nuanced, no? And to me, it certainly sounds very much like utilitarianism.
(Then again, all the alignment descriptions in the 1e DMG sound a lot more sensible — and a lot more like real-world philosophies/worldviews — than the simplistic, black-and-white perspective we've got in our modern game.)
I agree with everyone saying neutral good. The entire point of utilitarianism is achieving the greatest good.
To that end, some responses:
What if the character considers governmental stability a greater good than individual freedom?
Utilitarianism aggregates utility over some set of individuals. It is impossible to consider "governmental stability" to be inherently good, as it's not a property or state of an individual. A utilitarian would only consider governmental stability to be good if it led to greater good, for more people, than the alternative.
What if the character considers quantity of life(living to an old age) a greater good than quality of life(being able to enjoy the life you have)?
This is a question that some professional ethicists do struggle with, but utilitarianism generally solves it by using the utility function of the individual themselves to calculate utility for that individual. Thus what matters isn't whether the utilitarian considers quality or quantity to be superior, but what each person in question prefers.
Remember that in Pathfinder, "Good" and "Evil" aren't culturally subjective. There is no such thing as "It'd be good by the standards of Humans, but Orcs consider it 'good' in their culture to kill the weak."
Utilitarianism is in no way dependent on cultural subjectivity.
I am now imagining a utilitarian BBEG rebelling against the gods for creating and enforcing an absolutist system of moral judgement that declares him to be evil simply because he is too consequentialist for them.
I've had the same idea, except the person wouldn't be a BBEG, but a hero. I think it's a great one. I think that a really good person (by modern consequentialist standards — i.e. the correct standards) would, if thrust into a Pathfinderesque universe, would indeed do something like this. That could be a great campaign — rebel against, and ultimately aim to destroy, the gods, and rearrange the universe to remove absolutist "D&D alignment style" morality.
Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
Now THAT would be truly epic.
Because the circumstances of combat can't change in the rounds leading up to the Cleric's turn, potentially causing him to need to change his strategy at the last moment.
Sure. That's why you have contingency plans.
In any case, you should still only need to look through your short list of "spells that might be useful in combat", not flip through multiple sourcebooks; and even this, surely, shouldn't be happening all the time.
I mean, I've played spellcasters many times. This isn't actually an issue if you're prepared.
What I think happens, in addition to the aforementioned lack-of-attention issue, is that some people get fixated on wanting to take the ideal action, when a reasonably suitable action would almost certainly do just fine.
9) If you couldn't figure out what your character was going to do within a minute, your character lost his turn that round. Now, this is an old 1e rule that our GM house-ruled into 2e. It's not that bad for most players, but for the guy playing the cleric it was horrible. Since the cleric didn't have to prepare spells, it made the entire cleric spell list available to him (at mid level ranges, this is literally hundreds of spells). That meant that the player often had to pour through multiple books to find a spell that would be useful, and if the player couldn't do it in a minute or so (including getting the rule right, or even trying to find a spell that he remembered what it did but couldn't remember the name), he lost his turn. Our cleric player ended up using up as much time as possible before it was too late, and then made a last second decision to just melee attack the nearest monster. He attacked much more often than he cast.
What was the cleric doing while other people were having their turns? What about between combats? Between games?
I like rules like this, because they highlight which players give some thought to their characters' tactics and strategies, not just at the moment when the DM says "ok, your turn, cleric".
When I play a caster with access to their full spell list, I make a list of the effective spells, note which are effective for what sorts of situations, make some notes on tactics... and as a DM, I get pretty annoyed when players sit there, twiddling their thumbs (or doing something else) during other people's turns, and then when their turn comes up, go "Whahuh...? Oh, my turn... uhh... I guess I... uhh... <frantic skim of character sheet> ... I, uhh... <frantic flip through book> ... I, uh... I cast..." and so forth.
Just because you have a bunch of options doesn't mean, a) that all of them are potentially combat-applicable, and b) that you actually need to consider every single one of those options the moment the DM calls on you. If you haven't drawn up some sort of contingency plan beforehand, then just pick something that looks reasonable and go with it.
Scott Betts wrote:
I don't know about any of that. I live in New York City; there are gaming groups everywhere. Finding one isn't hard. (I acknowledge that this is different in other places.) So it's not like I have some kind of stranglehold on everyone's fun.
Besides, if Alice, Bob, and Chris aren't entirely happy with the way Dave's running his game, no one is stopping Alice from starting a game of her own. Probably Dave would even be perfectly happy to play in it (I bet he's tired of DMing all the time). That way Bob and Chris can play the gunslinger and synthesist summoner they've been wanting to try, Dave can get a break from DMing, and Alice can gain an appreciation of what it takes to run a game. Everyone wins, and no one has to give up unilateral control of their own game! Yay.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Actually, I have a question about the whole "a book we agreed to accept" bit.
Perhaps I am misunderstanding you... but are you suggesting that, in your experience, a gaming group collectively decides to accept an entire sourcebook wholesale, and this decision thenceforth binds all GMs who run games in that group to allow all material from that book in their games?
Like... "we decided to accept Ultimate Magic, and all of us agree that, if we ever GM in this group, everything from Ultimate Magic will be allowed in our games, regardless of whether the game's set in Golarion, or a homebrew setting, or what"?
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Sure. Like I said, the idea of "you guys picked me for GM" (and the corollary ideas of "a book we agreed to accept" and "any major decision would be agreed to by the group first") is totally alien to me. In any gaming group I've seen, all of these conversations end the same way:
GM: No one is forcing you to play in this game that I am running.
And I'm not saying that's the only way to do things — only that assuming that the opposite way is the only way to do things, is also bad.
Also: if enough people say "well, ok, I guess I'm not playing in this game that you are running", then I don't actually have a game. So it's in everyone's interest for me to decide to run a game that my prospective players can find to their liking. Still, though, it's my game, that I am running, and if a potential player doesn't like it, then no one's forcing them to participate.
Scott Betts wrote:
Why do you think that their decision to make you GM entitles you to dictate the terms of the game in a unilateral fashion?
(I wanted to respond to this specifically, as it seems to be representative of the thinking of a number of posters in this thread.)
What is this "their decision to make you GM" business? Not every gaming group operates like that. Here's how it happens for me:
Me, addressing a group of my friends: Hey guys, I'm planning to run a D&D game. Allowed stuff is <list of stuff>. House rules are <list of house rules>. Who's in?
The things you, and other people on this thread, have said, leads me to imagine something like this:
(in a group of N gamers:)
Edit: And that's fine. It's just that not everyone does things that way.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Alternate version of the rest of the conversation:
GM: Why did you spend three days working on your character concept without first asking whether the class it's based on is even allowed? Didn't I tell you to check with me when making characters? Whose fault is it that you didn't do that?
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Player: "OK, so let's not play in your world."
GM: Ok, don't. When I said "Hey, I'm starting a campaign, want to roll a PC and play?", that was an invitation, not an ultimatum. I won't kidnap your dog or anything if you decide not to join.
In either case, either the player makes an acceptable character (and the problem is fixed), or decides not to play in the campaign (and the problem is fixed).
But then, what Cranefist said about "player budget" is probably the key issue here.